Gautam Gambhir. Whenever the history of Indian cricket in the 21st century will be written, the name of Gautam Gambhir will be written in red letters. And, why not? After all, Gautam Gambhir was a part of three of India’s greatest achievements in its history – 2007 T20 World Cup & 2011 World Cup & accession to the No.1 Test ranking in 2009.
And, Gambhir played a stellar role in all three of them.
While his 75 off 57 balls in the 2007 T20 World Cup paved way for India to post an eventual match-winning target against Pakistan, his 97 off 121 balls in the 2011 World Cup finals helped the Men in Blue recover from the early jitters that they had suffered after the loss of Virender Sehwag and Sachin Tendulkar.
Gambhir played a crucial part in India’s rise to the No.1 Test ranking in 2009. The southpaw was at the height of his powers in Test cricket between 2008-2011 with 2009, arguably being his best year.
The southpaw was awarded the ‘ICC Test Player of the Year’ for his 1269 runs at an average of 84.69 in eight Tests in 2009 which also included his stonewalling match-saving hundred in Napier.
Gautam Gambhir’s inability to control his anger got the better of him: Dilip Vengsarkar
But, should Gambhir have played and achieved more than he eventually did? Former Indian cricketer and selector Dilip Vengsarkar certainly thinks so.
Terming Gambhir as an ‘underrated player’ Vengsarkar said that the Delhi opener should have played more for India but for his inability to control his anger and emotions which eventually got the better of him.
“Underrated player. Had a lot of talent but couldn’t control his anger and emotions. I feel that for the kind of ability he had, he should have played much more for India,” Dilip Vengsarkar told Times of India.
Unfortunately, Gambhir’s golden run of three years ended after the 2011 World Cup. The southpaw struggled during India’s 0-8 rout in England and Australia. Gambhir was soon replaced by Murali Vijay and Rohit Sharma in the Test and ODI line-ups, and even though he made sporadic returns in 2014 and 2016, his best days were truly behind him
The southpaw eventually called it a day after having played 54 Tests, 147 ODIs, and 37 T20Is for the Men in Blue in 2018.